Learning to Drive: The Evidence

  • Published: Department for Transport, Road Safety Research Report, May 2008.
  • Authors: K Emmerson
  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 12 Jan 2018
  • Format: pdf


This report sets out the evidence on why there is a need to transform the training and testing of drivers, illustrating the Department for Transport and the Driving Standards Agency’s assessment of the current problem.


This report reviews the literature and evidence around learning to drive

Key Findings:

  • The evidence in this report suggests that there fundamental weaknesses with the learning to drive process and how people learn to drive.

  • As a result, many new drivers are ill prepared for safe driving when they pass their practical test and start to drive independently.

  • The evidence has been grouped into three key (but related) issues which reflect the structure of this report:

    • issues with how people are learning to drive – for example, learning is carried out inefficiently;

    • gaps in what people learn during driver training and testing – for example, the driving test focuses too narrowly on vehicle control; and,

    • the ability, attitudes and behaviours of new drivers – for example, new drivers are overconfident and overestimate their own ability; they view the practical test as the end point of the formal learning process.